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Cellulitis in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 6, 2024.

What is cellulitis?

Cellulitis is a skin infection caused by bacteria. Cellulitis is common and can become severe. Cellulitis usually appears on your child's lower legs. It can also appear on his or her arms, face, and other areas. Cellulitis develops when bacteria enter a crack or break in your child's skin, such as a scratch, bite, or cut.


What are the signs and symptoms of cellulitis?

Signs and symptoms usually appear on one side of your child's body. Your child may have any of the following:

How is cellulitis diagnosed?

Your child's healthcare provider may know your child has cellulitis by looking at his or her skin. Your child may need blood tests to show what kind of bacteria are causing the infection. Other tests may be needed to see how much the infection has spread.

How is cellulitis treated?

You should start to see improvement in your child's symptoms in 3 days. If your child's cellulitis is severe, he or she may need IV antibiotics in the hospital. If cellulitis is not treated, the infection can spread through your child's body and become life-threatening. Your child may need any of the following medicines:

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

How can I help manage my child's symptoms?

How can I help prevent cellulitis?

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my child's doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.